As we were discussing during our last blog post, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire Social Security disability applicants are facing new evidence rules beginning March 27, 2017 that will  effect the manner by which the Social Security Administration reviews medical opinions from one’s medical treatment providers.    In addition, it is important that disabled Veterans who have been found disabled by the Veteran’s Administration and who may be considering applying for Social Security disability benefits, will likewise see a change in these rules that will adversely impact their Social Security disability application. Continue reading

Whether you’re a Social Security disability applicant in Maine, Massachusetts or New Hampshire, you will soon face new rules that govern the way in which your disability claim will be evaluated.  While some of the rules will be helpful, there are some changes that may prove to be quite harmful to those who initiate a claim on or after March 27, 2017.  We’ll attempt to provide you an overview of the new rules to you understand how these new rules may impact your particular case.  Continue reading

With the coming of 2017, and what we hope will be a Happy New Year to all, come changes to both those who are receiving Social Security disability (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and those who plan on applying for such benefits this year.  Whether you reside in Maine, Massachusetts or New Hampshire, as this is a federal program, the changes I am outlining below will apply to each of you.

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While the Social Security disability program is meant for those are going to be long-term disabled from working, as a Social Security lawyer handling disability claims and appeals throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, we’re many times asked what one should do once they’ve just gone out of work from a disabling condition and it simply remains unclear if  they will remain longer term disabled from working.  There are a number of suggestions we provide to our potential clients. Continue reading

As a Social Security lawyer handling the Reconsideration process in Maine and Massachusetts (New Hampshire remains a pilot project state where a claimant goes directly to hearing), it is difficult to inform our clients of the low chance of success at the reconsideration level.  However, the work to be undertaken at this level is just as important as the initial application level and can pave the way for a smooth hearing down the road (which is the likely eventuality if one has been denied initially, whether it be in Maine, Massachusetts or New Hampshire). Continue reading

As we discussed in our prior blog entry, there are a number of issues to remain vigilant about following the receipt of a favorable Social Security decision.  As was mentioned, periodic reviews will take place as to whether an individual remains disabled (and thus remaining in consistent and zealous treatment with your providers is important to document how one remains disabled).  Likewise, providing updated records of one’s earnings should you be able to return to work is important so that the Social Security Administration (SSA) can keep track of the extent to which you use up Trial Work Period months.  In this blog entry, we’ll continue our discussion on how the failure to report income and/or assets to SSA following the receipt of a favorable decision can have very serious consequences. Continue reading

While prevailing in your Social Security disability claim may be a huge relief, it is important to remember that there are certain obligations one continues to have with the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Likewise, there are a number of considerations one needs to take place moving forward to ensure that one does not experience a problem down the road with SSA.   With that in mind, we’ve made a checklist to assist you.  Continue reading

We face the same question, on a daily basis, from our prospective Maine Social Security disability clients: I have been disabled from working for a number of months, and, prior to contacting your office, I filed a disability claim.  I have since been denied.  Would you recommend that we appeal this denial at this time?  Will you assist with our appeal?

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The Social Security disability hearing process before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is meant as an opportunity to hear from you as to why you believe you’re unable to work any job for which you’re reasonably suited by age, education and experience.   Given this, the ALJ is interested in finding out to what extent one remains functional both in and out of the home and, correspondingly, the extent to which one’s various medical conditions might impact one’s ability to sustain certain activities in a work setting. Continue reading

In our prior blog entry, we began explaining the most common reasons claimants face denials of their Social Security disability claims, whether it be at the initial, reconsideration or at the hearing level claim level.  Understanding why such denials occur can occur will hopefully help you or a loved one from making the same mistakes.

Yet, another common reason for a denial of one’s claim is the misconception many disability claimants have that if in fact one remains incapable of performing their past work that there should be automatic entitlement to Social Security disability benefits.  While for those individuals over the age of 50, the Social Security Grid Rules do provide a basis for disability for those who have worked labor intensive jobs over the course of their lifetime, can no longer perform such jobs anymore given the  physical limitations they experience resulting from their long-term medical conditions and have no transferable skills that would allow them to return to other, less physical positions, the Grid Rules do not provide such a basis for disability for those who have yet to reach the age of 50.   Generally, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will look to see whether an individual remains capable of returning to some other manner of employment for which they are reasonably suited by their age, education and experience.  With this in mind, we many times find ourselves in the position of having to advise potential disability claimants as to other types of jobs that they may be expected to look into obtaining and working.   Many times, this advice can be the best advice a Social Security lawyer can provide you.

Many times, upon getting involved in a claim that has been denied by SSA, we will find that SSA did not obtain all of the relevant medical evidence.  There are a number of reasons as to why this may have taken place: it is quite common to see that our claimants may have forgotten to provide a complete treatment history: whether it be in their initial application, or on reconsideration: they may have forgotten to list a specialist they were sent to see by their primary care physician, or perhaps a physical therapy department with whom they may have treated for a period of time.  Without providing such information, SSA will not be in a position to obtain the medical records from all of your providers and, even if you have provided all of your treatment history to SSA, you may find that they have failed to obtain all of the medical evidence.  Each state has a designated state agency that is responsible for working up the medical record and for evaluating the medical evidence as part of making a decision: in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire the agency is called Disability Determination Services.  In order for them to do their job properly, it’s essential that your application and appeals forms are filled out completely.